Story Rhymes, Purification Era Version, Part One

Story Rhymes, Purification Era Version, Part One

(Note: If you don’t know what the Purification Era series is, go back and read my previous post, or you will probably be majorly confused. Key word– “probably”.)

The Itzy Bitzy Itzalin (to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”)

The itzy bitzy itzalin

Climbed up the tower spout

Down came the arrows

To wash him out;

But then Lord Mas D

Gave orders to refrain,

And the itzy bitzy itzalin

Climbed up the wall again.

 

So Sore Sorek (to the tune of “Baa Baa Black Sheep)

So sore Sorek, have you any snark?

Yes sir, yes sir, bites more than my bark.

One for the rebels,

Several for my wife,

Quite a few for the Hul Lord

Who causes naught but strife;

So sore Sorek, have you any snark?

Yes sir, yes sir, bites more than my bark.

 

Ari Had a Little Mas (To the tune of “Mary had a Little Lamb”)

Ari had a little Mas

Little Mas, little Mas,

Ari had a little Mas,

Hair like a gold halo.

 

And everywhere that Ari went,

Ari went, Ari went,

Everywhere that Ari went,

Mas was certain to go.

 

He follow’d her to the stable one day

Stable one day, stable one day,

He follow’d her to the stable one day,

Because he makes the rules.

 

All this made Hikah sick with envy

Sick with envy, sick with envy,

All this made him sick with envy

To see her with Mr. Cool.

 

Hulcondans Are Falling Down (To the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”)

Hulcondans are falling down,

Falling down, falling down,

Hulcondans are falling down,

My fair Rabreah.

 

Tearing them down with

The rebellion,

The rebellion,

The rebellion,

Tearing them down with the rebellion,

My fair Rabreah.

 

But are they really

All so bad?

All so bad?

All so bad?

Are they really all so bad,

My fair Rabreah?

 

Work together, Huls and rebs

Huls and rebs,

Huls and rebs,

Work together, Huls and rebs,

My fair Rabreah.

 

POP! Goes the Question (To the tune of “Pop! Goes the Weasel”)

All around the town square

Sir Sorek chased Rabreah;

Sir Sorek thought ’twas all in fun,

POP! Goes the question!

 

This Old Hag (AKA, Rab and Ari’s Mother) (To the tune of, “This Old Man”)

This old hag, she had fun,

While her girls worked out in the sun,

But with a knick-knack, paddy whack,

Give Mas D a throne,

This old hag went –SMACK–into her brand new home.

 

Hey Diddle Diddle (P.E.S. Version)

Hey diddle diddle

Mas and widdle

Ari

Jumped over the moon,

Rabreah raged in seeing such a sight,

But Sorek ran off with her, too.

 

Hickory Dickory Dock (P.E.S. Version)

Hickory dickory dock,

Mas’s schedule raced around the clock,

When the clock chimed one,

Mas was already done.

Hickory dickory dock.

 

Hickory dickory dock,

Mas’s heart paced ’round the clock,

To see at nine

A young lady so divine,

Hickory dickory dock.

 

A Skipping, a Sowing (To the tune of, “A Tisket, a Tasket”)

A skipping, a sowing,

Two sisters all a-growing,

They vowed to be there for each other

All but them never knowing

Never knowing

Never knowing

Their love would become tested and owing.

 

I’ve Been Working on Rebellion (To the tune of, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”)

I’ve been working on rebellion

All the livelong day

I’ve been working on rebellion

Just to make the Huls go away.

 

Can’t you hear the bell clanging?

Rise up so early in the morn,

Can’t you see Sorek’s secret message,

“Ember, don’t pop your corn.”

Don’t pop your corn,

Don’t pop your corn,

Ember, please don’t pop your corn,

Don’t pop your corn,

Don’t pop your corn,

Ember, please don’t pop your corn.

 

Someone’s in the bak’ry with Lion

Someone’s in the bak’ry, I know

Someone’s in the bak’ry with Lion,

Trying to become her beau.

 

_______________________

Image Credit: https://www.amazon.com/Sowing-Purification-Era-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01H1AMBNA

 

 

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“The Purification Era” series: A Cleansing of Modern YA

“The Purification Era” series: A Cleansing of Modern YA

Hey, guys!

Yes, I meant it when I said I would start reviewing things more. To make it easier on myself (and probably on you), I’ll review series, or at least, chunks of series, a bit at a time, so less reading for you, less writing (but equal fangirling!) for me, overall, less time-consuming. Sound good? Good.

Lately, I’ve been reading a LOT of really, really good stuff. And when I say, “good stuff,” I don’t mean the popular, “on trend,” super publicized junk. *Some* (though certainly not all) of which gets a lot more attention than the story, world-building, crappy characters, etc, actually deserve.

Which breaks my heart, because I now know at LEAST three (maybe soon to be four!) either indie or self-pubbed authors. We’re not talking your average, run-of-the-mill, throw something, anything, onto CreateSpace and make a few bucks off Amazon. No. We’re talking writers whose word-smithing skills parallel the Suave Sabaa Tahir, the Brilliant Bardugo, the Amazing Amie Kaufman, the Magical Marie Lu. Easily.

Then why, might you be wondering, are these fantastical, equally talented authors often kept hidden in the dark? Simple: They are self-pubbed, or indie-pubbed.

(Keep in mind, again, I do not do this for just any indie-or-self-pubbed. Only the ones who are very professional, and that I deem truly worthy. Not every self-or-indie-pubbed author I know will get advertised and recommended by me. That being said, I’ve extremely high standards, and am very, VERY picky!)

I view this as an incredibly unfair advantage to them, and think they deserve every bit as much love and attention as their more well-known counterparts. A few of these lovely authors include Janeen Ippolito (also head of Uncommon Universes Press), Sarah Delena White, and, more recently, Angie Grigaliunas. Janeen is more well-known in her territory for an interesting mix of supernatural, fantasy, steampunk, some snarky romance, and occasionally shifters (i.e., especially dragonshifters, unicornshifters, and a cat-dragon, who will soon get a major say in another anthology 😉 ); Sarah, while incorporating fantasy and steampunk as well, seems to prefer traditional fae lore, along with traditional (and very chivalrous) romance; lastly, Angie’s style. Angie’s is a nice, heady blend of fantasy, medieval dystopia, and some VERY snarky (but utterly adorable and fangirl-worthy) romance. Her writing is similar to that of Sabaa’s and even Veronica Roth’s, with drops of Bardugo here and there (especially when it comes to the MEN! *whistles*). I just wrapped up reading the first two books in her “Purification Era Series,” and the series was SO GOOD it mounted the top of my Fave YA List (Note: I need to make a post on fave YA series, and why)— beating the Shadow and Bone Trilogy by only a hair breadth. Which is HUGE, because not just ANY author can do that (although Marie Lu, Amie Kaufman, Janeen and Sarah all come dangerously close).

So, I am here to explain why.

And instead of giving a pros and cons like normal, I will just go on a mini-rant of things I liked, loved, and thought could be improved. Fair? Fair.

*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD– READ AT YOUR OWN RISK*

First off, will say this: I do not recommend any of the YA series I read to anyone younger than 15. Tops. The Illuminae Files and this in particular, I do not recommend to anyone younger than 16 (if they are VERY mentally and emotionally mature– I know, so many teens think they are, but not all are. Trust me. Been there not too long ago, myself.) to 17, bare MINIMUM. (But I’ll get into why in just a bit.) There are just some things I’d rather not have young minds witnessing/picturing, before they reach a state of maturity. (Just as you normally wouldn’t let a five to twelve year old watch a slasher horror flick. Common sense. You don’t want to scar the poor kids for life or anything, right?)

I’m told there are a total of six-eight books, roughly, in this series, and while so far only two have been published, they are. Utterly. And. Jaw-droppingly. Superb. As in, for the most part, I cannot gush over these books enough. Here’s why:

*cue monkey on steroid noises off in the distance*

*clears throat to sound more professional, because that’s what proper reviewers do* Annnnyyywwaaaayyysss, I meant to say that, the world-building skills and character relationship skills in these books are just AMAZING. A. Maz. Ing. You have a complex political system of apparent protectors/oppressors (depends on whose side you view the situation from!), a stirring rebellion, combining some aspects from AEITA, The Giver, and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy alllll rolled into one fabulous package. Here’s what I absolutely adored about the series:

The issues it dealt with. I give her kudos for tackling what she did. Most book series wouldn’t go too in-depth with topics like sisterly love and protection (think similar to Frozen), an abusive parent, or overcoming personal struggles in order to even have a healthy relationship (more on that in a moment). Angie is not interested, for the most part, in fulfilling the character stereotypes. She is not interested in love triangles, or typical “weak to strong female” characters, “100% bad boy characters,” etc. Everyone has depth and meaning, complexity. Layers and layers of COMPLEXITY. I cannot harp enough on allll the YA series I’ve read where certain characters fall short of realism in that department; they may be the average guy or girl next door, but that is legit it. You don’t learn much of their hobbies, habits, fears, dreams for the future, worldviews, what it means to them to truly be human and be ALIVE. Most YA barely scratches this surface, and ends up disappointing me a bit in this area (the main exceptions being The Illuminae Files and The Shadow and Bone Trilogy). I loved how the characters were layered in this series. Different characters saw different sides to each other, brought OUT different sides to each other, challenged one another with questions like that.

And it was utterly terrific. 

The personal romantic struggle and the MEN! PHEW!!! OK, granted, I was warned in advance that Hul men were all super-genius, witty hotties, with secret lil soft sides. And, as we ALL know, THOSE are the kind of guys I end up falling for (in fiction, anyways). Initially, it took me some time for the Huls to grow on me, but I eventually added a certain INTJ Hul to my “NT Type List” (more on that in a different post– MBTI thing), along with the rebel leader, Sorek, who could EASILY give Nikolai Lantsov a run for his money, and have a battle of wits, with all the snark he’s shown us. In fact, if you loved the Nikolai snark in the Grishaverse, you will ADORE Sorek (although, I will guarantee you will hate him at first. But give him PLENTY of time– he grows on you. Like Nik, he tends to persona-shift to suit the needs of the circumstance, and, also like Nik, is also an ENTP!). I was HOWLING at all his playful (and often very flirtatious!) banter with Rabreah 90% of the time. Just splitting at the SEAMS laughing. While the other, more popular YA reads may have given me the occasional fangirly smirk, giggle, or laugh, none have made me outright laugh for AGES on end like Sorek in this series does. And this book’s genre isn’t even comedy! 🙂 The other guy, Masrekah (who ironically reminds me of the Darkling a LOT… read and see why!), isn’t as outright WITTY persay, but has a very dry and sarcastic sense of humor, nontheless. He’s very calm, intelligent, calculated, and SEEMS cold… but you find out, like ALL good INTJs, that underneath that exoskeleton, there’s some well-guarded soft mushiness. (Especially for a particular young lady, whose name I shan’t reveal) This made me squeal in delight as much as Sorek’s interactions with Rab did.

All Imma say is: Quelling. Horseback riding scenes. That is all. xD 😀

And the romantic STRUGGLES. Again, we are not talking the stereotypical, often-used “romance triangle/rectangle/whatever shape is “in” ” nowadays. We’re talking a female MC, Rabreah, who has been sexually threatened, and who has an ardent fear of men (i.e., gets defensive when they get close or look at/touch her, thinks men are the dung of the earth, etc.). She has to physically, emotionally, and mentally JUMP OVER THAT HURDLE if she wants a relationship with So-and-So, a desire that comes into conflict frequently with said fear, so she’s constantly denying her attraction (but we ALL know otherwise 😉 😉 ). As for her little sister, Ariliah, well, Ari’s almost entangled in a deadly and dreaded romance triangle trope. Key word: Almost. Like many YA female protags, she’s a bit confused about who she wants, and initially, who would be best for her (and definitely vice versa). But unlike many, many, MANY female protags who heart-breakingly string guys along, playing both sides of the field, Ari doesn’t look at it that way for longer than maybe a few chapters, and makes her decision of who she wants to be with. I mean, I’ve read other whole books (and a half or more!) that take like half the series or longer to get that stuff all sorted out. It’s very tedious to me, unnecessary “soap opera drama”. Find a guy, a good guy, stick with him, move on. Ari, even as an INFP like Alina Starkov, knows what’s up and has a good bit of common sense with this whole situation. (Which is one of the many reasons I love my sweet lil cinnamon roll! T_T )

Grey “bad” guys. I remember once reading something Leigh Bardugo said, about not everyone being straight-up good and evil, one or the other– we’re all a mix of both. And for a while, as a Christian, I was unsure whether to agree or disagree (more in a future post!). But here, I would definitely say agree, and that it is portrayed in SEVERAL characters VERY realistically. Rab is kind-hearted, smart, and passionate, yet secretly seems to fear her passion for justice will turn her into something like her abusive mother. Sorek has to pretend to be one of his enemies in order to blend in and spy properly– even if that means doing questionable things. Masrekah reads, “grey and mysterious” ALL over, and even little Ari has her moments. This only adds a layer of complexity to Angie’s characters, a layer many characters in many YA novels would not touch.

The world-building. Angie excelled at this, and it was often the little things. The different, foreign lands, how the names and sounds of names were different, country to country. Different cultures. Itzalin and their story, their cultures. Fascinating.

Overall, if there was one or two things I would advise Angie to improve on, I’d say, add more detail and clarification, here and there. I had a tough time initially picturing the itzalin because of this (and for future readers, no, they do NOT resemble werewolves!). Some of the unclarified stuff tripped me up, a smidge. There was also one or two moments of convenience, where things *just happened* to be in play that way, but thankfully, those situations were relatively few and far between.

 

I give this series, so far, a 4.5 out of 5. 🙂 Way to go, Angie! Can’t wait to read the next installments!

Want to check out this fabulous series? Click here for more:

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Image Credit: https://www.amazon.com/Quelling-Young-Dystopian-Fantasy-Purification-ebook/dp/B07CVT9D6S

 

 

Out With The Old

Out With The Old

Hi, guys!! Me-sa back from Yisrael!!! 😊 So much happened; it seemed so surreal, and dreamlike… I seriously did not want to leave (seriously—on impulse, during our second—and very long—flight, I had to fight the impulse to tell the pilot to turn the plane around, and head back toward Tel Aviv!!). I learned a lot, and am now able to connect a lot of the land (i.e., En Gedi, Scythopolis, the “Sea” of Galilee, which is really just a massive lake…) to Biblical stories in my brain-head. Our guide, David, was wonderful—not only super informative and helpful, but considerate, friendly, and unafraid to say it like it was; he is a true Israeli, through and through.

Annnyyyywwwwhhhhoooo….

So, while we were there at our first hotel, an old friend of David’s came to visit us; like David, he too was a Messianic Jew. But he was also a pastor, and gave a powerfully inspiring message to us that night, one that I’ve been wrestling with, TONS, and reflecting on ever since.

You see, like most of us, even believers, he had his passions, his hobbies. Even before he got Saved, for instance, he loved going to the movies. Later on in life, he even became involved in martial arts (which REALLY got my attention!). But, he felt convicted about partaking in these things. Why?

My first thought and objection was going to be that we should be allowed to have harmless but gratifying passions or hobbies that we can enjoy doing from time, so as long as there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. But he brought up one very valid point: God asked him to compare how much time he spent doing his respective hobbies, and how much time the pastor spent with Him. For movies, the guy spent an unhealthy amount of time, like at least a few HOURS a DAY, on a DAILY basis, versus the fifteen minutes he gave God before bed each night.

Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? Buuuutttt… It DOES seem STRIKINGLY familiar…  (*cough* Netflix… *cough*)

Now, as a fangirl, my primary guilty pleasure is my fandoms–my little, well, obsessions. It’s very easy for someone like me to get sucked up into a GOOD fandom, and start fangirling pretty hardcore (depending on what it is, after all). But, I think God’s been nudging me ever since that night, and has given me something of an ultimatum: Either I give them up completely, or like and enjoy BUT don’t idolize them.

Yes. I used the “I” word.

Because, if you really think about it, that’s what an obsession is, isn’t it? An idol. The light of your life, what you think and talk about the most, what you give the most time in your life to, willingly. Now, I am NOT saying school is necessarily an idol (for you fellow students, that should not be an excuse to NOT do your homework!), but I could see how it could become one, with competition for good grades, and constant pressure to do well. But with fandoms, it’s generally a LOT more obvious: Cosplayers, line-quoters (seriously, we should be quoting SCRIPTURE, not MOVIE/BOOK LINES, guys!!!), fantasizing about making out with a fictional boyfriend or girlfriend, you name it. They all sound idolatrous, and in fact I can think of at least TWO Scriptures that go against that last one (which I am equally guilty of committing, mind… And I’m sure you can guess who with…). It’s convicting, to say the least.

 

So what should we do about it?

If you’re anything like me, you likely have multiple fandoms. This doesn’t make it a super bad thing! You can still like stuff, and even fangirl/fanboy over it, to a degree. But it should not be your primary reason for living, nor should it consume your thoughts almost every waking 24 hrs. Jesus deserves that spot, guys, not a fandom. Not an earthly obsession. I’ve seen/heard about plenty of those obsessions taking a turn for the worse, and the end results aren’t pretty. It’s like how I’ve been with Harry Potter; I was too obsessed when I was younger, but now I just like and enjoy it, but am not “into” it. Sometimes, people are– literally or spiritually– scarred or damaged for life.

I would say that God is offering you the same ultimatum He has been offering me: Him, or the fandoms. We can’t worship both, as stated in Scripture. No human can serve two Masters, and sadly, I know a good many people who would not choose God (which breaks my heart, btw) over their fandoms. But! I think I know some who, when it boiled down to it, would. And I would encourage you to do the same.

 

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

            Romans 1:25, NIV

 

            “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

            Luke 16:13, NIV

Love you guys, and I promise there will be more, soon.

~~O.R. Moore

ISRAELSELFIE

Me near the Western “Wailing” Wall in Jersusalem. More pics to come!

Cover picture of Yisraeli flag that I took at Masada. 

 

“The Last Jedi”– And a Multitude of Fangirling

“The Last Jedi”– And a Multitude of Fangirling

OK, first off… apologies for the lack of posts. Between senior seminar, finals, other homework, then FINALLY being off on break for some SERIOUS, MUCH-NEEDED INTROVERSION— Well, you get the picture.

December, this year, for the most part, is my happy month, guys. For four reasons: 1., Christmas (the obvious), 2., I got yet another 3.8; 3., I AM GOING TO ISRAEL IN LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!! And 4., The Last Jedi. 

(Don’t worry; you guys will get pictures galore when I’m back– maybe even a post or two, seeing as how I’ll be chronicling my travels in a physical journal the whole time 😉  But anyways)

So, as you guys know, I am a MAJOR, major, major “Star Wars” geekette. I have a purple lightsaber in my closet as we speak (light-up, too– though, I STILL WANT MY INDIGO LIGHTSABER!!!! ARRRRGGGGHHH), glued to every single episode of Rebels that’s ever been out, as well as some “Rebels Recon” (and most of “Clone Wars”), am in possession of most of the Complete Star Wars Visual Dictionaries (I am planning on buying The Last Jedi one soon), and became so recently appalled at my youngest cousins (ages 10-15) NEVER HAVING SEEN STAR WARS BEFORE, I made SURE to give them the chance to have some mandatory viewings before Episode VIII.

Which brings me to….

The EPISODE VIII REVIEW. (dun dun dun duuuuuunnn…)

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED THE LAST JEDI, YOU SHOULD not READ ANY FURTHER! THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING!!!

In brief, for the most part…

I. Loved. It.

OK, maybe “love” is a bit strong: I would say, “really, really liked” is probably more accurate. But in actuality, Episode VIII is probably one of my fave SW Eps.

Sure, there were some dumb things with Poe and the whole mutiny thing, but the Rey’s training, Rey and Kylo, and the awesome SW animal things totally made up for that. Those things made Episode VIII worthy of my love (yes, at the risk of me sounding like Lusamine 😛 ). And, all things considered, the number 8 IS one of my two fave numbers, so I gotta say, no pressure or anything, Johnson— putting up high expectations out there, but for the most part, they were met.

So, here we go! As always, we’ll go with the criticisms first, then add with positive closures:

CONS:

  1. The whole Poe Mutiny thing. It was just kinda stagnant for me, and made it more like an episode of “Rebels” than an actual legit SW movie. Didn’t really move for me. Same with Rose and Finn’s mission, it didn’t feel as genuine as the mission with operation Starkiller base shutdown (aka remake of Ep. IV) in The Force Awakens. Then I ended up being confused of who to root for when Leia became conscious and outright STUNNED Poe for his mutiny. Which side is the “good guy” side here?
  2.  Rey being too repetitive, when meeting Luke. She starts to sound like a broken record at times, continually relaying Leia’s message of hope and urging him to join the Resistance,  instead of just answering his own questions half the time. It made her sound less realistic, and more like one of MY “pamphlet-y” characters (*cough* Guy… *cough*). This isn’t good, because Rey is such a good, strong, sassy character. She’s more than a recording playback of hope, Johnson. You already had that throwback of Leia’s recording via Artoo to nail that one on the head.

Rey1

3. Why DID Luke Skywalker pull an Obi-Wan on us? Rather  than fully face something he believed he triggered, Luke doesn’t show up to confront his fears and face them himself; he sends only an apparition of himself. He owns up, but doesn’t show up. This cowardly behavior is reflected in his initial refusal to teach Rey anything about the Force: He’s afraid of creating or triggering another Kylo. It’s this reason that he says he’s seen that kind of power once before, and while it didn’t frighten him into sense then, it did now. However, this fear leads to him not really resolving his problems, only running away and hiding from them. He literally was so dejected about the whole stupid thing being his fault that he went off to end the Jedi Order by dying, alone, on secluded Ach-To. He didn’t even fully die– just vanished into the Force, like Obi. Why? The world may never know, but it seems slightly cowardly to me.

Luke2

PROS:

  1. The new critters. Oh. My. Gosh. This film is living proof that there are really cool and cute creatures in the SW universe, not just Hutts. Or Nexus. Or Acklays. Or… Well, you get the gist. In Episode VIII, we get the Vulptices (ice foxes). Those cool, beautiful creatures that Rose and Finn need to ride to get to safety, that look like they’re part horse, part kangaroo, part something else. And, MOST IMPORTANTLY….

PORGS!!!!!

porg

#Chewieapproves

We first spy these little penguin-like guys on Ach-To, and later, we learn (with much dismay), that Chewie has been ROASTING THEM OVER AN OPEN FIRE FOR SUSTENANCE. Three poor little porgs look up at him like, “What are you doing?” making him growl, and they scurry off; one brave lil porg remains, looks up at him with huge, watery, eyes, and gives a tiny, pitiful little cry like, “Budddddyyyy…. Why are you eating my buddy?” and Chewbacca ROARS a bit to scare that one off, and thus ease his conscience. We later see him having made amends with the adorable beings, however, by taking them on the Falcon to hitch a ride for kicks.

I want a plushie porg, and I want it now. And unfortunately, the cheapest I can find are on Amazon for no lower than $52. WIM. T_T Why me???

2. Rey’s Jedi Training. Rey finally starts on the path to what she is destined to be, and will be the ultimate tide-turner for the story as a whole. In fact, I feel like the whole story of the three new movies is a major telling of HER story. She, not Finn or Poe, is the true protagonist, or the major protag. Because, if you think on it– in The Force Awakens, the Force has literally been awakened in her; she learns that she’s Force-sensitive. In The Last Jedi, she is literally the last, singular, Jedi at the end of the film, as well as according to Luke. I feel like the film titles alone dictate her destiny, or at least what happens to her specifically in each film. I can hardly wait to see what happens to her in the final installment!

3. THE WHOLE DYNAMIC BETWEEN REY AND KYLO. I could literally go on for pages about this (seriously, someone shut me up if I start fangirling too much here). One major motif I noticed even in the trailers ( and thought about a LOT while watching the movie) and found thoroughly fascinating was the whole idea of them being a LITERAL balance of good and evil, light and dark. Kylo’s “dark” but struggles with resisting the light; Rey has the opposite problem: She’s fighting for “good,” but is somehow called by the “evil,” and finds it surprisingly difficult to resist. While I could write a little sermon-post on this interesting topic, on how it relates to human nature as a whole (and perhaps someday I will…), now is not ideal; however, this does affect their relationship a great deal. Thanks to a certain individual’s interference, the two interact a lot more and actually get to know each other better. While Rey initially thinks Kylo’s a monster (as implied in Ep. VII), she gradually warms to the fact that he’s only fallen, only twisted (“twisted” in this sense meaning that he is a warped version of initial good) because of a sad backstory, and eventually comes to believe he needs her help in returning to the light. However, we eventually see that Kylo has the mirror sentiment of her; he believes her own ideals are “twisted,” and senses her own inner conflict, and believes he can help her in turning to the dark side. There is returning familiarity with these scenes as they grow more and more comfortable with each other’s presence, that reminds me strongly of the Darkling coming to visit Alina numerous times, via corporeal visions, in Siege and Storm. And maybe it’s just me, but I think because he gets to know her, because he can relate to her inner struggle, that he might even be ATTRACTED to her. Sound far-fetched? Well, in one vision episode, he appears to her SHIRTLESS (obviously intentional) and she, somewhat embarrassed, asks him to put something on, clearly flustered (he doesn’t). Later, when in Snoke’s throne room, and on our way to Snoke’s room in the elevator, we see several direct parallels:

Kylo’s conversation with Rey mirrors a similar one Darth Vader had with Luke Skywalker, when Skywalker comes to redeem him– Vader also wished to turn his son to the Dark Side.

Kylo’s act of killing Snoke and sparing Rey mirrors Vader’s albeit more selfless act of killing Hideous– sorry, SIDEOUS– to spare Luke’s life.

Kylo literally offering Rey the chance to rule alongside him. Not beneath him, not just to JOIN him, but ALONGSIDE HIM. This parallels Vader TWICE: When Vader told Luke they could rule the galaxy side-by-side, as father and son, and when Vader made that same offer to Padme Amidala, albeit in a slightly more romance-oriented sense.

I believe that Kylo meant more of the latter here, even saying that while most saw Rey only as nothing, a lowly scavenger at best, he knew she was something special, and meant much more than that to him. Again, I get a very Darkling-and-Alina vibe here, which is probably why half my body and mind is screaming, “JOIN HIM, YOU FOOL” (because, what can I say, still suffering from a loss of Darklina shippings…), the rest saying, “Oh, you know she’ll only resist.” And yup, sure enough, she does. She tries once to get him to the Resistance’s side, major fail (don’t do that to a passionate guy; he’ll take that as dissing his passions). Even after she has rebuffed him, though, this doesn’t stop him from calling out to her one. Final. Time. At the very end, before she leaves with the Resistance. And it’s heart-wrenching, because of the look she gives him before the door shuts, severing their connection. It’s a look I imagine Alina giving the Darkling, but even she was more sympathetic.

joinme

4. The Yoda cameo. Because seeing old friends is always a pleasant surprise for nostalgic old geezer fans like myself (and even older).

Shipping-wise: Initially, I shipped Finn and Rey, but now I’m thinking of Rey and Kylo a LOT more (namely because sucker for sympathetic villains.). And now considering events in the new film, I gotta say I’m also leaning towards shipping Rose and Finn, too. Because reasons. 😉

Anyways, though this film had a few bugs to work out, and a couple unanswered questions, I do want a couple things to happen:

I want another animated series, similar to Clone Wars and Rebels, only this time, set RIGHT AFTER this film. So, similar to Rebels in some manner, but I want to see Finn and Rose’s, as well as Kylo and Rey’s, relationship bud and blossom. This stuff takes time, more time than could ever be conveyed super realistically in a single film (unless you count the whole, “time day skip” thingy, but we aren’t gonna count that). I want Rey to talk to Yoda’s, Luke’s and Obi-Wan’s ghosts. I want to see her training more. I want her training younglings, the future of the Jedi. I want more Kylo Ren temptations. (I don’t know if I would’ve resisted, if I were her, or not…) GOSH DANGIT GUYS, I WANT IT ALL!!!!!

I do want the final installment to have answers to my questions, including why Luke chickened out, is Rey going to cave (got a feeling that answer is “no,”), is Kylo going to slowly about face and start to turn to the Light Side, why did Chewie stop eating porgs (other than their unadulterated cuteness), and so much more.

My final rating: 4 outta 5 stars. Sooooo close, Johnson; just a BIT more!!!

 

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Image Credits:

http://www.insidethemagic.net/2017/10/top-5-jaw-dropping-moments-star-wars-last-jedi-trailer/

https://www.inverse.com/article/37276-star-wars-last-jedi-trailer-porgs-twitter

https://techcrunch.com/gallery/heres-the-new-star-wars-the-last-jedi-trailer-as-scene-by-scene-gifs-to-tear-apart/

https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/14/star-wars-the-last-jedi-trailer/

What Sai and Mitsuki Have in Common with Your Not-So-Average Aspie

What Sai and Mitsuki Have in Common with Your Not-So-Average Aspie

Ah, Asperger’s Syndrome.

That unfortunate semi-flaw of mine that gives me the bluntness of Luna Lovegood, the brain of Sheldon Cooper (in a girly, book-nerd, more spiritual way, of course), and, lastly…

The tact and social awkwardness of both Sai and Mitsuki (but particularly the former) from Naruto and Boruto, respectively. These two, in fact, could pretty much be anime poster children for my fellow Aspies and I. Here’s how:

  1. Lack of outward physical expression and feelings. Aspies don’t often, if ever, openly convey what they’re feeling, unless it’s something like they don’t get what they want. Likewise, Mitsuki and Sai are both incredibly hard to read, on the outside, because they’re essentially blank slates– even literally, in a sense. After all, Mitsuki’s name literally means, “snake vessel,” referring to the fact that he is a partial clone of Orochimaru; Sai, on the other hand, goes through Anbu Black Ops training from a very young age, has erased essentially most ties and emotions in his brain’s databank, and is initially forced to rely on his “fake smile” to get him through working with others.

sai1

2. Lack of obvious tact. This one is a lot more apparent in Sai than in Mitsuki, but both really have a habit of stating the inappropriately obvious, but in the wrong way, time, and place. Sai will outright insult people, and not even really know he’s doing it, often with an attitude of, “Oh, I’m sorry, I would think you’d already know.” This problem gets somewhat resolved later, when his teammates quickly urge him not to call their stout friend Choji “fatso,” and Sai decides to, instead of calling someone what they are/what he thinks they are, to lie and say the opposite of what he thinks they are– leading him to call Ino (his future wife), “beautiful,” to the chagrin and anger of Sakura. On Mitsuki’s half, he is more controlled, but is still pretty blunt; for instance, when ChoCho and Sarada are talking about ChoCho possibly not being related to her parents (and trust me, the similarities ARE there pretty plainly), Mitsuki pops in unexpectedly to give his input, saying that he can tell she’s an Akimichi from not only her family crest, but from her physique as well (she’s Choji’s daughter). He labels her with,”Tragic Heroine Syndrome,” a condition he claims affects girls like her around this stage of life, and one of the primary symptoms being that girls question their identities. Talk about a little harsh.

Mitsuki1

3. Don’t know how to socially physically act/ react to certain people, and/or in certain situations. Poor Sai, he tries so hard to make an effort, relearn everything, and even has a little guidebook that he carries with him everywhere to try to help him socially and physically. For instance, look at how he tries to comfort Naruto in one scene, when the book advised him that physical comfort and embraces were the best way to go (My first thoughts: “Welp, this is about to get awk…ward…”). Sure enough:

naruto_and_sai___funny_moment___animated_gif_by_painbooster2-d5a5u4e

4. Obsessions! As an Anbu member, of course Sai would be obsessed with his missions, but he also gained an obsession for learning how to communicate and bond properly with other people (not a bad thing in THEORY…). Mitsuki, on the other side of the fence, is pretty clearly obsessed with having Boruto as his best friend (and no, NOT in a romantic sense, to all you politically correct people out there!), calling him his “sun,” while Mitsuki is the “moon”. Don’t know what that means, exactly, but Mitsuki formed a pretty quick attachment to Boruto, follows him around discretely a TON (before seemingly popping outta nowhere, usually freaking out/ scaring Boruto in the process, and being all, “Hey, what are we doing? 🙂 “). It gets to the point where he is willing to forego almost any behavior, save for what his dear old dad advocates him to do, to win over Boruto’s good opinion, such as when he viciously fought Iwabee Yuino in a practice battle, on his first day of school, and Boruto berated him for nearly strangling his friend. Mitsuki stopped instantly on hearing how much Boruto disapproved, and vowed not to do such again (at the very least, not in front of him.).

mitsuki2

^Mitsuki popping in unexpectedly while Sarada Uchiha tells Boruto how blue his eyes are, compared to Naruto’s

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Image Credits:

https://painbooster2.deviantart.com/art/Naruto-and-Sai-funny-moment-animated-GIF-319399358

http://blog.naver.com/PostView.nhn?blogId=satani&logNo=110190590268

“Halayda”– Fae a la YEAH!

“Halayda”– Fae a la YEAH!

 

Hey, y’all!

Sorry that it’s been AGES; work and stuff’s been driving me up the ROOF. But anyways, enough excuses– time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Today I’m going to be reviewing a new fave book of mine, a book called, “Halayda,” the first in a series called the “Star-Fae Trilogy,” by Ms. Sarah D. White. (Who I would love to interview on here for you guys, but we’ll see what happens! 😉 She is really nice; we’re FB pals, and I’ve already asked her a good bit about the characters!) Long story short, I won the chance to get a free book from Uncommon Universes Press, an indie publishing company, and, after much contemplation, settled on this book (it was between that, the “World Building” book, and “Coiled”. Which I still may buy and review later.). This series is going to be my very clean sub for the “a lot less than clean,” Sarah J. Maas series, “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” which I have no to little desire to read namely because of aforementioned reason. But “Halayda’s” pretty clean– some cursing, here and there, but nothing super vile. For the most part, I was pretty satisfied and overall really liked the plot, the characters. But it distresses me, however, that, since it’s published by an indie publishing company, the hype is considerably less… so I’m going to be giving her a little boost in the marketing department… 😉

It was so good, but so under-hyped, that I was genuinely shocked that there was NO REAL ART OF HER CHARACTERS!!! (This is a book that’s good enough to be made into a movie that we’re talking about here.) I mean, aside from two portraits from Julia Busko of Taylan and Sylvie respectively (which were NOT how certainly pictured either of them– she forgot Sylvie’s waviness in her hair, and Taylan looks like a red-haired Legolas…), there was nothing, zip, nada. Which is why I’m eventually going to dedicate an entire post on here, my blog, to nothing BUT “Star Fae Trilogy” characters. I may not be as experienced an artist as Busko, and my phone may take extremely shoddy pictures, but it’s worth a shot at doing them justice! (Already did Casimir, since no one else did. I wanted him done the MOST, and man alive, did he turn out great! Sarah herself was very pleased 🙂 So that made my day! Taylan and Sylvie are up next– debating on whether to draw Syl with or without her wings– then Diza, then Zad.)

It also helped that a lot of the characters would often say, “Stars,” in amazement, reminding me immensely of The Lunar Chronicles.

(early apologies for formatting; my “insert,” tab is NOT favoring me today…)

Anyways, here’s my take on her, “Halayda” (I’ll do my best to limit major spoilers!):

Story Summary:

A mortal alchemist and a faerie king align and join forces to protect both their realms, but specifically the cruel, manipulative Star-Fae Casimir, who purposely endangers Faerie in order to draw out the Faerie Savior, known as the Dragonfly. Along the way, the protags are aided by sass masters, as well as hubby and wife, Zad and Diza, two other faeries (Pooka and Dulahna, respectively), some members of the Faerie Royal Court, and also– eventually– the Wild Hunt (consisting of pookas, kellishes, and cuanns 😉 Look ’em up!) in the task of stopping Casimir and restoring the realm.

What was Done Well:

  1. The Characterization. The characters were played off beautifully, so realistically. The sass could’ve been upped a tad for my taste, but I did enjoy the playful banter she had between Zad and Taylan, Sylvie sassing Casimir, and Diza sassing Velene. There’s no better verbal play against villainy than sassiness! 🙂 The romance was also subtle at times, not too mushy. That aside, I did like how she didn’t try to make her characters too perfect; Taylan had a HUGE skeleton in his closet and was very secretive, whereas Sylvie not only had the burden of saving the whole world shoved onto her shoulders all of a sudden, but she also was very insecure about herself, about her abilities. Her wanting to hide under her blankets and snuggle up when things got bad reminded me heavily of, well, me (Yes, I have a comfort pillow that I hug. A lot. Sue me.). She also reminded me greatly of Alina Starkov, in that aspect– both are very down about themselves and their abilities, and both have villains who kinda sorta take credit for giving said female protags power, and shame them when they don’t use it.insecuritygif
  2. The Detail. Some of it was more detailed than others, but I loved how she described the Wellspring, her characters’ appearances, the shifting mountain where all the past, present, and futures are connected and can be seen. AND THE FATE THREADS!!! She did herself very well in the world-building department. wellspring3. Suspense-Building. The tension was already there at the equinox party thingy, but it exploded into immediate chaos after Caylus and Cronies Co. decided to crash the party with tons of alchemical poisons, dousing Taylan’s realm and affecting everyone in it. Needlesstosay, some (OK, probably most) members of his Court were NOT too happy about it, and this builds up until we eventually reach… TREACHERY!!! (And the “lesser of two evils” kind of logic. Go figure.)treasongif4. The Faerie Groups. If you know me, I like categorization. I’d say order too, but then I’d be at risk of some nutjob like Casimir trying to butter up to me. But annnyyyywwwhhhoooo… I love categorization, like the factions in Divergent, like the Grisha orders in The Grisha Trilogy, etc. So naturally, I liked all the orders of Faerie put into the book for your convenience, so you weren’t totally lost.
  3. 5. Finally, I LOVED how she blended alchemy with magic– two worlds collide!! Literally. Enough said.

What Needed a Bit of Work:

  1. Plot talky– more tell than show. This was one of the few things that someone else pointed out that made me think, “They have a good point…” As much as I loved the book, the story, the characters, something was a little off. Something that was preventing it from FULLY achieving ULTIMATE GREATNESS, and being up there with the rest of the fabulous, really great books. That something was, primarily, not so much showing as telling. If it’s any consolation to Sarah, though, I’m probably equally guilty of this vice, and struggle with it quite often. I like to talk, to explain, when I NEED to learn to IMPLY. You can say just as much, if not more, than the average explanation by just implying or even STRONGLY implying something. She does sometimes, just not most of the time. And that’s OK– just something to remember and work on, in the future.
  2. The glossary at the front of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the glossary, it was really, really helpful. BUT I feel like when you put it at the FRONT, right in FRONT OF the story you’ve written, it’s like you expect readers to memorize every little thing– and I know that’s not true, that it’s there to help clarify, and for their benefit. As a reader, I’d much rather look BACK, towards a glossary that’s in the same place as an index. Keep-Calm-and-Write-On
  3. Lastly, the cursing. Granted, I know, it’s a part of everyday speech. This comment is probably more of a personal preference, more than anything. I was a little surprised to find it in a believer-authored book, and although SUPER strong language isn’t used, it was still frequent enough to bother me a hair (I think it was actually more frequent in this book than in, “Shadow and Bone” O.O). For me, when I write, I’d much rather say, “So-and-so swore…” and get on with the rest of the sentence; I noticed Ted Dekker does that a good bit, as well. But maybe that’s just me. 🙂

Overall, great book from a great author. Am looking forward to reading book two of the trilogy when it hits the market early 2018, seeing the Diza-Casimir confrontation, and stopping whatever Casi’s up to next!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (like I said– I’m a hard rater, but anything 3 and up is really good, by my standards!).

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Image Credits:

http://jmhackman.com/2017/04/04/guest-post-by-sarah-delena-white-author-of-halayda/

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34210549-halayda

https://tenor.com/view/palpatine-treason-star-wars-emperor-gif-8547403

http://www.hippoquotes.com/davina-joy-quotes-tumblr

Over The Moon with”The Lunar Chronicles”

Over The Moon with”The Lunar Chronicles”

 

I’ve been meaning to post on here (eventually) about my newest love for a newer, non-Grisha-Trilogy book series, but haven’t really had the time… until now.

Enter the Lunar Chronicles. Dun dun dun duuuuunnnnn….

For those not in the know, “The Lunar Chronicles” is the series you want to delve into if you like fairy tales, “Once Upon A Time,” “Star Wars,” or just fantasy. Think SW meets the Grimm Brothers a la Terminator.

Now, while the idea of crime-fighting cyborgs GENERALLY doesn’t appeal to someone like yours truly, I will say I made the exception. Just this once, for this FANTASTIC series (besides, it’s portrayed in a manner very similar to extremely handy prosthetics.  I think I’ll live.). Not too long ago, I finished the series with hungry bravado, before finals even started, but unfortunately, have not begun to write said review until afterwards (Because busyness. I apologize profusely.). That being said, the read was worth it. And reviewing it tonight will be worth me forgoing and sacrificing the Taekwondo forms I was going to practice for exercise tonight(because, let’s be honest, I haven’t been practicing consistently for a week… :/ oh well, guess there’s always tomorrow… I have the whole danged week, after all…).

So anyways, enough chit chat; let’s get to the nitty gritty!

Pros/ What was done well:

  1. The Characters and Characterization. I seriously love what Marissa Meyer does here; she basically takes a classic fairy tale, puts her own spin on it, AND still has elements that causes it to remain true to the original stories. And if you look for the character parallels, you WILL find them. (i.e., Aimery Park= Queen’s Mirror; Jacin the royal guard= the huntsman in “Snow White,” etc.) If you look for storyline parallels, they are usually there, in some way, shape or form. But I also love what she did with all the characters. Cinderella= Cinder, the spunky, sassy cyborg mechanic who is (spoiler alert) the long-lost Lunar princess. The Big, Bad Wolf= semi-mutated human-wolf hybrid former soldier who went rogue, for the sake of his love, who happens to be Little Red’s counterpart. Rapunzel= expert and extra adorable hacker shell girl who has spent too much time in her satellite hovering around Earth, and little actual time in the real world. Her crush, Thorne, literally pilots a ship called the Rampion (another name for the plant called, “rapunzel”.). Snow White= an extremely kind princess, who is kind to the point that it literally costs her her sanity. Literally. In fact, the last one reminds me a LOT of Luna Lovegood, in a good, charming way. 🙂rampioncrew
  2. The SHIPS. Oh GOSH. THE FREAKING, FLIPPING SHIPS. Sooooooo many freaking ships, and while ordinarily this would bother me, Meyer pulls it off pretty well. They don’t obstruct the plot all that much; they contribute to it. Almost everyone is paired with SOMEONE suited for them and their story/situation, and none of the ships bother me (unless you count the possibly shipping Sir Hayle with Levana in Fairest. 😛 ). My fave ship is probably Kainder (Prince Kai + Cinder); they’re both royalties with the weight of nations upon their shoulders– I love it how they can connect and easily relate to each other, how Cinder doesn’t have to manipulate him to get him to like her, like some Lunars would. It’s adorable, almost as adorable as Cress. cress1
  3. I find the amount of “Star Wars” references almost… disturbing. Disturbingly GOOD, that is. Meyer herself admitted that Thorne and his beloved ship are (obviously) based off of Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon, Iko is kind of inspired by R2-D2, plus, we have some intergalatic political matters, and glamours (her own version of a “Jedi Mind Trick”) underway. So instead of “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” it becomes, “these aren’t the wanted criminals who are trying to take down the Lunar Queen that you’re looking for”. Add a touch of Panem fashion to some of the aristocratic Lunars’ fashion statements, and BAM! Brilliance. (OK, OK, I’m geek-biased… sue me. LOL)
  4. The sympathy for Levana does NOT ECLIPSE HER VILLAINY!!! First off, BRAVO. This is a very, very difficult thing to pull off, even for talented authors. I cannot honestly express this enough: give a little too much in the “sympathy” department, and people are going to feel sorry for them to the point of perhaps even defending the villain’s cruel actions, which you do not want. On the other hand, a boring, “mwa-ha-ha” villain often dulls the plot; complexity adds interest. Meyer does this pretty well; Levana is given something of a sympathetic backstory, having neglectful parents who were assassinated when she was young, along with an abusive older sister. BUT she chooses, from then on out, to make bad choices, purposely– and, with each bad choice, transforms her into a crueler person. From murdering her beloved so she could form a political alliance, to trying to kill her own niece to keep her throne, Levana has a beautiful glamour, and is vicious, with the right amount of an interesting story to keep the pages turning. I rarely hear voices of sympathy or defense of her actions from fans, it’s done so well. You, Ms. Meyer, get the medal of the evening. *applause*levana
  5. Research. Meyer obviously did extensive research on certain things in her books, whether it was mechanics, survival-based, etc. Not every author does this, and does it well; some people make stuff up without really looking into anything. But yeah, it goes to show you, a lot of research really pays off in the end.

Cons/ What could have been done better:

Honestly, not a whole lot, so I’m not even really going to make a list on this one. There were maybe one or two minor things in the storyline that either bothered me a tiny bit, or weren’t super believable. One such thing, for instance, was Winter and Scarlet winning the mutant soldiers to their side so quickly. I get that they were on a time crunch, Meyer was on a time crunch/deadline, but it felt slightly rushed at the least. At least give it more time to develop, like Wolf and Scarlet’s relationship, which started to blossom after at least several days, not just a few hours. I also never really got why the whole “Peony chip” thing held so much significance, since it was just tossed away in the Benoit field later and kind of forgotten. (I mean, I got WHY they showed what Peony meant to Cinder, and the fact of what the chips were being used for, but since both are so important, I would assume it wouldn’t be tossed aside so meaninglessly like that, without much thought afterwards.)

Overall, my rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars. I’m a tough rater, so kudos to whoever makes it to 4+ stars. 🙂 These books and series are usually ones that have earned it, and “The Lunar Chronicles definitely has.

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Image Credits:

http://maybeicantbesaved.tumblr.com/Books